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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 01-27-2010
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Ground DC Cable Color

I'm going to be replacing my "welding cable" battery cables as directed by my surveyor. ABYC recommends Yellow for the negative to avoid confusion with AC Black which is hot -- a very good idea. I have a couple of questions:

* If I don't do 100% of my boat (not gonna happen!), then I'll have a double standard. Is that a concern? Not for me, 'cause I'll have done the work, but maybe for the next guy or the buddy helping me out in the future.

* While it sounds good, is it really being done at all? My local "Marine Store," a shady and technically iffy place called West Marine, does not even stock yellow battery cable, although they can order it. If no one actually uses yellow, I'll just add to the confusion.

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Harry
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Old 01-27-2010
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I think its more of and issue on the small 16/14/12 guage wires in and AC/DC system.

I find it hard to believe anyone would hack into a battery cable size wire by mistake when doing a repiar.

What bothers me is the hit/miss on being required to change things


On my Cal 29 there making me move the fuel filler from the orginal location to a location that meets current rules and in rebuilding the Cal i have talked to a LOT of Cal 29 owners and i am the only one who has been required to move it


And it is a major undertaking for something thats been fine for 40 years on hunderds of hulls
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Old 01-27-2010
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No, it's for battery cables as well.

However, the standard practice when using wires of the "incorrect" color is to put a band of colored tape around each end to identify the "correct" color.

So... you could easily replace the cables you want with yellow and, if you're so inclined, buy a spool of 3M yellow electrical tape and have fun with the other black DC wires :-)

By the way, an excellent source of marine wire, including yellow battery cables, is GenuineDealz.com - Marine Electrical, Boat Wire & Cable, Custom Battery Cables

Good prices, fast service, good people.

Bill
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Old 01-27-2010
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I see--and am living--your quandary. I'm planning to replace and recable my batts and didn't even think to go yellow on the battery ground. GenuineDealz does carry yellow batt cables though. I might consider that--some nice long yellow 2/0 will really jazz up the place

As far as confusing future owners, yeah there will be two colors of DC ground on the boat, but I don't think yellow has ever been an AC ground, so it's not a fatal confusion. And it will give them something to gripe about that the @#% "PO" did.
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Old 01-27-2010
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Yellow Battery Cable

Yellow battery cable has caught on with most boat builders. We began supplying it about ten years ago and the volume has grown. Part of the issue besides the confusion with AC hot conductors (although i can't imagine the confusion in the case of battery cables) is that European directive requires a distinction between AC and DC color codes, ABYC thus recommends yellow as an alternative to black. Some boat builders have opted to using European color code boat cable for AC circuits rather than re-engineering the more involved DC system. In short, black is still acceptable according to ABYC, if you plan on keeping the boat, go with a high quality tinned copper cable, but don't pay extra for yellow.
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Old 01-27-2010
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I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I'm with Bill T; color coding the cables that don't get changed.


AND, labeling every cable I can on both ends. THAT should be required!
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Old 01-27-2010
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The ABYC standard for DC ground is yellow OR black not yellow only.. If you are starting all new then yellow is great. If you're retrofitting and want all DC grounds to match then black is still perfectly acceptable.
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Old 01-27-2010
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Harry, if there's anyone working on your boat who can't recognize a battery cable as a DC cable by thickness alone...they just shouldn't be on the boat with access to tools and cables.

I wouldn't worry about a black battery cable. No AC line is going to be that thick, running alone without another wire next to it.
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